Saturday, February 28, 2004

Spokane

Anti-indecency rule affects local stations
Clear Channel cracks down after yanking shock programs

Jim Kershner
Staff writer

Shock jocks Howard Stern and "Bubba the Love Sponge," recently yanked from Clear Channel stations for indecency, have never graced Spokane's airwaves.

Yet local stations are already feeling the repercussions.

"Even we were put on a seven-second delay on Tuesday," said Jay Daniels of the Jay & Kevin Show on KDRK-FM (Cat Country 93.7). "And you can't get more family oriented than we are."

"We don't even say hell or damn," said partner Kevin James.

The delay was a manda
te from parent company Citadel Communications, mainly to protect the station from problems with live callers. The FCC has been cracking down recently on radio shows that air sexual material and obscenities.

Stern's show was canceled on six Clear Channel stations after airing sexual material on Tuesday, including some from a live caller. Clear Channel is also facing a $715,000 fine from the FCC for the sexually explicit "Bubba" show, based in Florida. Clear Channel fired the DJ this week.

Clear Channel owns six stations in the Spokane market, including KKZX-FM (Classic Rock, 98.9), which has the local RadioMen morning show. Clear Channel issued a company-wide zero-tolerance policy Wednesday for indecent content.

"I don't know that it will affect us," said Jim Arnold, one of the RadioMen. "They (Stern and Bubba) push the pedal much harder than we do. Much harder."

Arnold said he and partner John Langan (whose on-air name is C. Foster Kane) discussed the issue Friday before going on the air. They talked about "being more cognizant of some of the euphemisms we use," said Arnold.

He said they'll try to gauge for themselves what is acceptable and what is not. But that's not easy to do.

"You could say `booger' on the air and cause someone to go sideways," said Arnold.

The RadioMen have no delay since they don't take live callers.

Kosta Panidis, who manages the local Clear Channel stations, said he was glad to see Clear Channel taking a stand.

"As a manager locally, and as a listener, I think it's good that someone has drawn a line in the sand," said Panidis.

He also said that obscenity has never been an issue in his 10 years as a local general manager. He said the RadioMen occasionally "push the envelope," but don't go over the line.

"Those guys are pros," said Panidis. "They know where the line is."

Arnold said a pair of syndicated shows, the "Bob and Tom" show, carried locally on KZBD-FM (The Buzzard, 105.7) and "Don and Mike" on KJRB-AM (790, The Fan) are more risque than anything local.

"They're on the edge of scary-ville to me," said Arnold.

"It's way harder being entertaining and clean," said Daniels. "It's a lot easier to be shocking and graphic."

Daniels said they always try to keep their show family-friendly.

"We don't want to have mom and dad driving their kids to school and having to explain something they don't want to explain," said Daniels.

Arnold said he and Langan have never had any run-ins with the FCC.

"We stay away from the things the other guys have found to be entertaining," said Arnold. "I just don't understand voyeurism on the radio. I feel it's very weird. But I'm out there in left field by myself, because these guys get huge ratings."

Jim Kershner can be reached at 459-5493 or jimk@spokesman.com.


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